EV Charging Programme Barnet

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Overcoming challenges in delivering an EV Charging Programme

The London Borough of Barnet secured £12 million in grant funding to support four EV projects, covering 50-75% of the project costs. However, the procurement process faced innovation barriers due to the unfamiliarity of EV markets among colleagues. Challenges included tight timelines, complex procurement requirements, and concerns over contract lengths and bid scoring methods.


  • Innovation Procurement: Collaboration with legal, finance, and procurement teams was crucial to overcome challenges in adopting new procurement approaches. Despite initial concerns over document alignment with Barnet’s contract standards, adapting the Oxford Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) proved flexible, allowing for necessary adjustments to suit Barnet’s requirements.
  • Complex Requirements: The requirement for bidders to present four different financial models and contract length of 15 year raised potential concerns about bid participation. To address this, a soft market test was conducted to gather feedback from potential bidders, leading to a consensus about 10-15 years being essential contract lengths for financial viability. Additionally, quality submissions were evaluated before financial aspects to ensure a balanced assessment.
  • Financial Modelling: Collaboration with finance officers ensured a robust business case and evaluated financial aspects, enhancing confidence in project recommendations. Flexibility in funding options, including full council funding or shared investment with suppliers, allowed for adaptability based on interest rates and financial viability.


  • Market Engagement: Collaboration with internal teams and market stakeholders facilitated smooth procurement processes and aligned financial options with market preferences, resulting in successful project outcomes.
  • Financial Flexibility: Adapting to changing interest rates and unexpected cost reductions allowed for optimal use of grant funding, leading to the delivery of additional charging points beyond initial estimates.
  • Senior Buy-In and Recognition: Senior leadership support and nominations for awards reflected the success and impact of Barnet’s EV charging programme, demonstrating effective procurement and rollout strategies.


The London Borough of Barnet’s EV charging programme showcases the importance of collaboration, flexibility, and market engagement in overcoming challenges and delivering successful projects. By navigating procurement barriers, adapting financial models, and leveraging market feedback, Barnet achieved its goal of expanding EV infrastructure while ensuring cost-effectiveness and sustainability.


  • Collaboration with internal and external stakeholders is essential for overcoming innovation barriers in procurement.
  • Flexibility in financial modeling and funding options enables adaptability to market conditions and project requirements.
  • Market engagement and feedback contribute to successful procurement outcomes and project delivery.
  • Effective leadership support and recognition enhance project visibility and success.


When conducting a procurement of innovation, clarity in the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents is paramount. Ensure that requirements are articulated with precision. By providing explicit guidance in the ITT documents, local authorities can minimise the need for extensive clarification questions and reduce the risk of bidders misunderstanding or becoming confused about the project’s requirements.” 

Paul Bragg, Head of Network and Infrastructure – Street Scene, London Borough of Barnet

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